Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Bush Insanity

And I mean insanity. This is sheer raving delusion, and while it may not come from the Oval Office itself, it is being enabled from there.

There are many things I will never forgive Bush for, but high on the list is his trashing of science, like asserting the idea that evolution vs. creationism is just a difference of opinion, like whether a Mac or a PC is better, and trying to make that non-existent ambivalence policy for public education.

But every time I tell myself that they just can't get any more fucking batshit insane than they have, they prove that they can top themselves. Here we go again. The National Park Service is being required by the White House to refuse to discuss the age of the Grand Canyon in order to avoid contradicting the biblical account of creation:
Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

"In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is 'no comment.'"

So the Grand Canyon was carved by Noah's flood, and this is what Bush's fundamentalist supporters want to teach park visitors, with the support of the White House. This isn't funny. It's absurd, insane, ludicrous, mad, but it isn't funny. It's dangerous. That the most powerful nation in history has fallen into this kind of ignorance, fantasy, and religious fanaticism, right up to the highest levels, is not funny at all. It's terrifying.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lickety Lick

You may not think you know who Boots Randolph is, but you do. He's an American saxophonist, born in 1926, who in 1961 made a 45 record that is deeply embedded in the psyche of all of us. To our benefit, I would add. It is "Yakety Sax," and you've heard it a thousand times. Basically, it makes anything funny. "Benny Hill" used it a lot, as have "South Park" and "The Simpsons". Even a pretty grim movie like "V for Vendetta" used it when the irreverant gay TV comic Gordon Dietrich (Stephen Fry) was mocking the all-powerful High Chancellor, though he got squashed like a bug for his trouble.

"Yakety Sax" is inherently funny. Other things are also inherently funny, one of the funniest being when you smear some peanut butter on the top of a dog's nose and watch him lick it off. Dogs adore peanut butter, but reaching the top of the nose requires pretty extreme tongue effort.

Put them together and the result is hilarious.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Done In Our Name

This is so infuriating I don't know where to start. Jose Padilla is an American citizen, to start with. Yes, he's a convert to Islam. Yes, it's possible that he had some ties to terrorist groups when he was arrested several years ago. Yes, it's possible that he was actually plotting something terrible, an attack against US civilians.

It's possible, but we don't know, because the Bush administration locked him away as an enemy combatant and refused to give any information about the charges against him. Not until the threat of a Supreme Court ruling forced them to. So they changed his status to an ordinary criminal defendant, with charges against him that -- tellingly -- include nothing about the terrible things they told us he was plotting to do when he was first arrested, in a very high profile bust.

Now the New York Times is finally giving us a glimpse of what he's been subjected to, since as an ordinary criminal defendant he -- finally!! -- is getting the right to proper legal representation, and his lawyers are finally getting some facts out. What's coming out is horrifying.

His lawyers have released photos from an incident when he was taken to the prison dentist for a root canal. Judging from his overall treatment, he must have been in agony before they would agree to such basic medical care.

To get out of his cell for this, he first had to stick his unshod feet through a hole so they could be shackled.

He then had to stick his hands out another hole to be shackled as well. Then military guards in riot gear, including full face masks, went in to retrieve him.

He was brought out, and by his lawyer's reports, and those of psychologists examing him, he is an utterly broken man, unable to tell between delusion and reality. He is also utterly passive, completely beaten down, with about as much initiative and aggression as a piece of furniture.

And yet they not only shackle him for a trip to the dentist within the prison, but blind him and block his hearing.

Why are they doing this? He's not the Incredible Hulk, he's a broken shadow of a man, and they know this better than anyone else because they're the ones who broke him. What justification can there be for this? And we know this much about Padilla because he is an American citizen. Just imagine what's going on at Guantanamo.

Besides, just look at the pictures of those military guards. Look at them! There have been many SciFi novels and movies about society degenerating into a dystopia of totalitarian terror, with government whipping us all into line in the name of keeping us safe. Safe for democracy! Safe for freedom! In those stories the rulers say that because of the emergency -- there's always an emergency -- they're taking democracy and freedom away for a bit and putting them both into cold storage, safe keeping you know, and they'll let us have them back once this is all over. Trust us. And do as you're told by the nice policemen.

The nice policemen in riot suits and masks who look just like the ones being so nice to Jose Padilla.

IF Padilla knew anything about terrorist threats to the US, the interrogators got it out of him long ago. Not only that, but whatever he knew is stale info, as the bad guys have changed plans and tactics a hundred times since he was arrested. There can be no justification for continuing to treat him this way, unless it's just an exercise in pure sadistic cruelty. The ultimate irony may turn out to be that they've damaged his mind so severely that he's legally incompetant and can't be prosecuted.

Maybe Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld just needed to prove to themselves that they're the meanest badasses on the planet. Can you imagine what sort of Gitmo torture-porn photos have crossed the desks of these people? I would shudder to think that they literally beat off in the john looking at such photos, but I can no longer put it past them.